The Circle Of Life
The Final Episode Of The First Chapter
The buzzing of a mechanical air vent was the first thing that I noticed when I woke up. I quickly recalled everything that had happened previously, and I felt a pit of dread in my stomach. What had happened to Elsa? Was she still alive? I felt incredibly groggy and tried my best not to open my eyes. But I was curious. I needed to know what had happened.
I was in a hospital bed. The walls were a pale yellow and there were grey roof tiles above my head. It was a very boring room with nothing on the walls aside from a clock which ticked on endlessly. Curtains acted as partitions between each of the six beds which made up the ward. The other beds were empty, from what I could see. It made the ward even more eerily quiet.
To my left sat Elsa, with padding around the right side of her head, held in place by a thick bandage. She cradled my left hand in both of hers, anxiously waiting for me to wake up. To my right was my father, Joonas. He was equally anxious. He had appeared to age a lot since I had last seen him, despite that being just a day previously. The fear of what had happened to Elsa and myself must have taken its toll on him.
"KALLE!" screamed Elsa in delight when she realised I had awoken. She reached over me and pulled me into a tight hug, wrapping both arms around my neck. The warmth of her body made me feel more alive than I was at the moment.
The three of us expressed our relief at no real harm occurring to either Elsa or myself. Before Elsa could tell me what had happened after I was knocked out for a second time, a nurse came in to examine my condition. The nurse advised both Elsa and my father that I appeared to be in good help but that she would need them to leave while she performed some tests.
"I really hate being in this room anyway," said my father as he left the room in a mournful undertone.
I was curious as to why he had said that, and in the way he had too. When he and Elsa had gone, I politely asked the nurse which hospital we were in. It was a question I had not asked before she had arrived.
"We're in Jorvi Hospital," she said with a polite smile. "You were brought here because none of the other hospitals had a spare bed at the time and your condition was under control. This ward actually used to be a maternity ward, believe it or not."
That was when it hit me. This ward was where I was born, and my mother Mia had passed away. The gravity of the situation intensified. My father must have dreaded every second he was here beside my bed, praying I was okay, I thought. After everything that had happened, we had returned to where it all began. It was the circle of life, the beginning became the end and the end became the beginning.
The nurse, Krista, was very delicate with her checks. She mostly checked the cut and abrasion I had suffered to the side of my head, as a result of the two moments of impact I had received there. She also examined my nose, where Rodrigo had struck me several times, and to my wrists which had been bound. Krista informed me that I had suffered a minor concussion and that I was to remain as a patient in the hospital until a doctor had cleared me. She assured me that there were no other issues found, and also that a Detective Max Virtanen was waiting to interview me.
Once Krista had finished tending to the bandages which adorned my head, she departed. In stepped an old friend, Max Virtanen. He was dressed in black combat pants, military boots and a black leather jacket. A small gold cross hung from his neck on a chain, and his black hair was gelled and combed back immaculately. He sported a thick moustache on his face, making him look somewhat similar to Freddie Mercury. He picked up my watch from a table beside my bed and laughed.
"This thing saved your life, you know. When that asshole was tying your hands together, he must have accidentally called me on it. I heard what was happening and assembled a team to infiltrate and rescue you two."
Max recounted what had happened. The crashing sound I had heard prior to being knocked unconscious, for a second time, was the beginning of his team's raid on the house. The blinding white light I had seen was the result of a flash grenade which had been tossed into the room. Max recounted how when Rodrigo had lunged at them with his knife, Max was forced into shooting him down. Rodrigo died almost instantly, and Max was able to rescue both Elsa and myself.
"Kalle, from the evidence we have gathered it looks like this was just a B & E and then attempted murder out of opportunity. Do you know of any reason Rodrigo may have had to try to kill Elsa or yourself?"
I pondered what Rodrigo had told me - that he was part of an organisation which was contracted to murder me by a client. I remembered the dragon that was tattooed on to Rodrigo's arm, as if it was a gang sign or symbol. Do I tell Max about what Rodrigo had said? It may be worth investigating.
"No," I replied bluntly, trying to obscure the deceit in my voice. "I can't think of any reason at all for him to try to take Elsa's or my life. He was a polite and nice neighbour, and a very quiet one too. I always thought of him as a person who lived for the sake of living, he just got on with his life without interfering with anybody else's."
Max nodded in acceptance of the information while thinking heavily. He tinkered with a couple of ideas in his head before taking out a small notepad and a pen and jotting down what I had said. He read back his notes before putting both the pad and the pen away.
"Okay, thank you for your help. I'm just glad you're okay. We've been friends for so long now that I couldn't bare the thought of you dying! Unfortunately it appears that we won't be seeing each other for some time. I will be holidaying in Italy for a number of weeks with my girlfriend before starting a new job in England as part of a security consultancy. The financial terms of the job offer meant that I just simply couldn't refuse. A few years there and I'll be set for life."
I felt a sense of disappointment. Max was a very good friend, having known each other since I completed my conscription as a teenager. He was loyal, honest and like a brother to me at times. It was disappointing to hear that he would be starting a new career elsewhere but I was also proud that he had achieved so much in his career. He was a good man and a better worker.
"Well I guess this is goodbye then," I said with a warm smile. "Try not to get in too much trouble when you're in England, Maxipad."
Max roared with laughter.
"Oh that is a nickname I will not miss! You take care of yourself, Kalle. You've done great things as a manager, don't think I haven't been paying attention to your career! Make sure to give my best to Elsa and your father. We'll keep in touch online."
With that, we clasped hands for one final time before Max left. It wasn't the end of our friendship by any means, but certainly the end of an era. Max was an inspiration to me and motivated me to push on to become the best person I could be. He would be sorely missed.
I debated with myself as to why I chose not to tell him what Rodrigo had shared with me. I knew that whoever wanted me dead was surely powerful and not an organisation to take lightly. But I wanted to find out more about my assailant and his reasons for pursuing my death. While Rodrigo had failed in his attempt to kill me, I was certain of one thing; this wasn't the end of the story. This was only the beginning.
, all to be revealed in due time
, it came as a surprise to Kalle too
, Big Sam will have to get a mention somewhere then
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